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Chrysippus' dog and the origins of modal concepts

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact John Mollon.

Since Chrysippus’s time, scholars have wondered about whether nonhuman animals are capable of making inferences, and if so, whether they are grounded on logical reasoning. Much of the empirical effort in comparative cognition has been devoted to distinguishing inferential from non-inferential processes based on associative or low-level general attentional processes. Much less research attention has been devoted to investigate the modal nature of inferences in nonhuman animals. In this talk, I will present a series of object search studies investigating whether primate inferences are probabilistic or deterministic. In other words, do primates merely consider possibilities or can they also conceive necessities? I will then connect this emerging body of work with the research on intuitive statistics and the prediction of past and future outcomes.

This talk is part of the Zangwill Club series.

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